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Day School: Understanding and Fighting Austerity

Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 10:30am - 5:00pm


Ryerson Student Union
63 Gould Street
Toronto, ON
43° 39' 29.3004" N, 79° 22' 41.7324" W

What are some of the forces that are driving the current crisis? How is it pushing forward the agenda of business and governments to get working people and our organizations to tighten our belts and accept their calls for austerity? What forms is resistance taking around the world? What are the strengths and limitations of that resistance and what can we learn from it? With the Ford administration's plans to cut social services, dramatically increase privatization and attack the rights of municipal workers, what do we have to do to resist? How must we change the way we have been doing things in our communities and unions in order to prevent our isolation and loss of our livelihoods and key services?


Lisa Raitt's three principles of labour law

Posted below is a slightly longer version of my column in today's Globe and Mail regarding the Harper government's highly creative approach to making up labour law on the run.

Has a sitting Premier ever supported workers over bosses during a strike?

Has a sitting Premier ever supported workers over bosses during a strike? My question is limited to a strike which occurred while the Premier was in office and in the province of said Premier.

However, one doesn't have to limit one's comments to answering my question. ;)


A detailed & accurate visual guide to Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume One

Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 7:00pm - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 8:00pm


Of Swallows, their deeds, & the Winter below
283 College St. upstairs
Toronto, ON M5T 1S2
43° 39' 27.6948" N, 79° 24' 3.1032" W

The FSE is proud to offer an eight week, interactive workshop dedicated to bringing all the subtlety and complexity of Capital to the fore with a new myth-busting clarity and accuracy.

With the use of visuals illustrating formulas and models taken directly and without alteration from the books themselves, Marx’s theory will be highlighted from its historical context and given new life, so as to be finally judged on its own merits.

Designed to be either an introduction or an accompaniment to the study of Capital, A Detailed, Accurate Guide … is suitable to both beginners and those already familiar with the material.

Please contact us if you have any questions at

| October 3, 2011

Case of unpaid treeplanters shows critical weakness in government monitoring

September 29, 2011
| Some long overdue wages have finally been paid to 57 tree planters, more than a year after they were found living in squalid conditions in B.C.
Length: 14:13

Profile of displaced workers

There's an interesting new research report from Statistics Canada, by Ping Ching Winnie Chan, Rene Morissette, and Marc Frenette, profiling the workers who were displaced in the recent recession, and comparing the outcomes to previous recessions in earlier decades (the downturns of the early 1980s and 1990s). Workers Laid Off During the Last Three Recessions is part of StatsCan's Analytical Studies series.

I haven't been through the report in detail and can't comment on the methodology, but here are some of the interesting (and often surprising) findings:

Worker power in an age of uneven austerity

Any time commentators speak of a new 'age,' powerful assumptions quickly become entrenched in our thinking. An 'age of austerity' now encompasses many western economies as governments launch fierce campaigns against workers to lower public sector wages. At the same time, capital has taken a 'wait and see' attitude resulting in an unprecedented hoarding of surplus and thereby limiting investment and real job creation. As unions are put on the defensive by austerity measures, calls for broader working-class organizations from diverse groups on the left have become commonplace. Difficult questions remain around how to build such formations and what role organized labour can play, if any, in their development.


| September 5, 2011

Labour walks : A catalytic walking conversation in the Spadina garment district

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm


33 Cecil Street Toronto, ON
43° 39' 12.6864" N, 79° 23' 2.0652" W

Maureen Hynes and Sue Smith will be hosting the third of three walking conversations on labour history in Toronto. This Spadina walking tour explores the plight of the garment worker. The walk will discuss the struggles for safe working conditions and adequate pay in an industry that is still plagued with labour abuses and challenges. 

This is a free event!

Bring your walking shoes and a friend or two!

At the completion of the walk we will convene to continue the conversation.

Rain or shine!

Hope to see you there!

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